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London Co-Investment Fund

Cognism – Accurate Data

Using Accurate Data to Source New Opportunities 

Cognism is an end-to-end sales acceleration solution providing B2B organisations with a more efficient way to prospect. In a crowded marketing technology space, Cognism has been able to demonstrate the power of its platform, powered by a patented Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine, by using it to grow its own client base and increase revenue significantly since it started trading in 2016. At the heart of the solution is a game-changing approach to data that improves the depth, accuracy and timeliness of each prospect interaction.

 The Challenge

It is now widely recognised that B2B organisations need to adopt more efficient strategies to identify their key targets, approach the best contacts and increase their revenue growth.

While Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a well-established traditional approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and potential customers, they are often complicated software products that make it difficult to maintain information with any degree of accuracy. Data starts to go out of date as soon as it hits the system, creating issues in identifying decision-makers and/or the appropriate profile to do business with – particularly within international sales environments.

In the best case, this leads to lost sales opportunities; in the worst case, companies waste huge resources targeting the wrong people, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and with the wrong message. Improvements to the sales process must be supported by a completely different approach to data sourcing. Static CRM is no longer good enough. B2B sales organisations need access to fresh, accurate, contextual and, critically, GDPR compliant data.

James Isilay, Cognism’s co-founder and CEO, recognised this and set about creating a present-day solution. His concept was to use recent technology developments in the field of AI to tackle traditional database flaws. And, as with all best-in-class solutions, James was determined that the best way to prove the strength of the platform was for the company itself to be its own first customer.

He comments: “What better way to prove that Cognism could help our customers further understand their core market, from purchase triggers to decision making personas, than by using it to drive our own sales process and revenue generation.”

The Solution

Using its own platform, Cognism was able to more accurately identify desired prospects with the most relevant business profiles. In addition, the company was able to use the AI engine to act on changes in user profiles in a highly timely manner. In doing so, they were able to make sure they were not only prioritising outreach activity at the right time, but that each prospect interaction was focused and relevant to that persona. The result is both improved conversion rates and reduced prospecting lead times, and ultimately more revenue.

During its first year, despite minimal resources, Cognism achieved 30% growth in month-on-month revenue. In 2018, Cognism saw a 600% growth in overall revenue and its platform was core to that success. In the second quarter of 2018, the company achieved a 61% increase in monthly recurring revenue (MRR) with a projected doubling of the sales team in the next 12 months. In just 18 months since startup, the company has built a base of over 200 clients, including an increasing number of global enterprise organisations as well as SMBs and mid-market companies.

James comments, “Our own technology has been absolutely key to our phenomenal revenue growth. In a post GDPR era and with plummeting data confidence, growing numbers of B2B organisations are now admitting the traditional sales funnel is broken. However, Cognism’s technology proves that it isn’t poor products or services that compromise business success: it’s the inability to close new business or even identify new market opportunities. And this means taking a fundamentally different approach to prospect data.”

Moreover, it is not just the industry that agrees; the investment community shares the vision of James and his co-founder James Hodson, Cognism’s Chief Science Officer. In January 2017, the company raised $500,000 in investment and by March 2018 had raised $2,800,000 in investment. Most recently, Cognism has secured a further funding round led by Oliver Wyman, raising another £2.8 million to fund enterprise growth.

In a fast-moving, data-rich world, it is essential that organisations keep pace when it comes to identifying new opportunities. Cognism has demonstrated that it is still possible to see growth by tapping into solutions that make the most of data.

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MMC London Fund